Montoya's genius on an epic race weekend

The magic of Monaco and Montoya's dazzling Indy 500 win

Montoya's genius on an epic race weekend
Charles Bradley, Motorsport.com editor in chief
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
Podium: second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari and winner Nico Rosberg and third place Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Third placed Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 with his brother Nicolas
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet with his family
Damages Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet beats Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet to the line

I’ve been around this sport for 34 years – 25 of those as a journalist – yet there are days when motorsport makes my spine tingle just like it did on my first as a fan.

Memorial Day weekend is always special, with the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and Charlotte 600 NASCAR events taking place within a few hours of each other. And while many of us like to chastise, bitch and moan about the state of contemporary racing, there was plenty to celebrate from my viewpoint.

I was fortunate enough to be in Monaco across the weekend, primarily to launch the GPDA fan survey on Motorsport.com.

Although much of the race there was soporific, the Mercedes strategy blunder to pit Lewis Hamilton and effectively throw away his victory, was a jaw-dropping moment that won’t be forgotten for a while.

Just after the restart, I had flashbacks to those memorable moments in 1992 when Nigel Mansell hounded Ayrton Senna, just as Hamilton subsequently did to Sebastian Vettel.

As Nigel found back then, even with a huge car/tyre advantage a great overtaker can’t find a way past a clever customer on a track where track position is king.

Indy excitement trumps Monaco

Those tense and exciting final laps were mirrored – and then some – by what transpired at Indy.

The closing 15 tours of the Brickyard produced some of the most pulsating racing in the venue’s glittering history, as Will Power, Scott Dixon and Juan Pablo Montoya went wheel-to-wheel at 225mph with the biggest prize in US motorsport at stake.

As much as I respect the immense abilities of Power and Dixon, I have to say Montoya truly deserved this one. Not least for the way he fought back from damage sustained just before the first restart – again, like in Monaco, the race started in such turgid fashion with not a hint of what excitement would transpire later.

The moments that will stick in my mind forever began when Montoya passed Dixon in the short chute after running his left-side tyres through the Turn 1 grass. But the truly epic split-seconds for me came with five to go, when he ran so low through Turn 2 in Dixon’s wake that he grabbed four or five snatches of opposite lock.

He stayed out of the wall – an accident that never happened. His hand-speed on the wheel was simply blurry; if you ever want to see true genius behind the wheel, look no further.

JPM maintained that huge momentum to pass Dixon after another lap-and-a-straight into Turn 3, and then blitzed Power into Turn 1 just 16s later for his first win here since that amazing debut victory in 2000.

Take a bow, Monty. You're a truly special one.

shares
comments
Will Power just misses out on Indy 500 glory

Previous article

Will Power just misses out on Indy 500 glory

Next article

Ups and downs for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at 2015 Indy 500

Ups and downs for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at 2015 Indy 500
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021